By Sharon Robb
December 6, 2013
Alia Atkinson of South Florida Aquatic Club broke the meet record twice and broke her own Jamaican national record in a lifetime-best in her signature event Friday night at the AT&T Winter National Championships.
The three-time Olympian from Jamaica won the 100-yard breaststroke in 57.62, breaking her own meet record of 58.24 she set in the morning just off the U.S. Open record of 57.43 at the University of Tennessee’s Allan Jones Aquatic Center in Knoxville, Tenn.
Her previous best time was 58.16 she swam in March.
“I am pleased especially since I broke the 58 barrier,” Atkinson said coming off her dominating performances on the FINA World Cup circuit.
“My body still feels great, everything is loose and nothing is tight,” Atkinson said. “I didn’t know what to expect coming into this meet. It could have gone either way but practice was good before I got here so that was a good indication.”
Atkinson just missed the U.S. Open record of 57.43.
“I am happy that is for sure with my swimming, but I think I can do better,” Atkinson said. “In tonight’s race the first 25 I went out choppy. I wasn’t as smooth as I could have been.
“I am hoping these past few months will be a huge breakthrough. For me personally I think it has been a breakthrough. I am getting faster and that’s good. My head is in the right place.”
Atkinson, 24, first broke the meet record during morning prelims in 58.24, bettering the previous record of 58.32 set by Laura Sogar of University of Texas in November, 2012.
The second-fastest qualifier was Katie Meili, 22, of SwimMAC in 59.64. They were the only two swimmers to dip below one minute.
“I am very excited for her, I definitely feel she is capable of going 56,” SOFLO coach Chris Anderson said. “It was definitely a very good swim after the world circuit for sure. She closed it out great. For her to break those world records we just have to clean up the first three strokes a little bit better.”
On Saturday, the third and final day of the USA Swimming meet, Atkinson swims the 200-yard breaststroke, where she is seeded sixth in 2:08.56.
“Our goal is to make it in and to win it,” Anderson said. “She is looking forward to racing it against some very good swimmers. It should be good.”
Also competing on Saturday is SOFLO’s Courtney Marx, 21, of Western Kentucky University making her national debut. She will compete in the 200-yard butterfly. On Friday, she finished the 100-yard butterfly in 57.93.
SOFLO’s Melissa Marinheiro, coming off the state high school meet, will swim the 1,650-yard freestyle on Saturday afternoon at 2:20 p.m. She is seeded 29th in 17:04.87, off her long course time.
In other Friday night championship races:
University of California won the women’s 4×50-yard medley relay in 1:36.91 with Cindy Tran, Urzainrina Garcia, Farida Osman and Kaylin Bing. It is the third fastest NCAA time behind Florida and Stanford
SwimMAC won the men’s 4×50-yard medley relay in an American record of 1:23.02 with Nick Thoman, Eric Knight, Tim Phillips and Cullen Jones. The previous record was 1:23.17 set in March, 2013 by California. Another American record was broken in the same event when Thoman led off with a 20.69 in the 50-yard backstroke.
Celina Li, 18, of California led from start-to-finish to win the 400-yard individual medley in a lifetime-best4:06.54.
Andrew Seliskar of Nation’s Capital won the 400-yard individual medley in 3:41.19. At 17, he was the youngest in the “A” final.
Olympic gold medalist Claire Donahue, 24, of Western Kentucky, who will be training with South Florida Aquatic Club later this month, won the 100-yard butterfly in 51.69. “I am excited to get my first national championship,” Donahue said. “I am right on track where I want to be.”
Olympian and world champion Matt Grevers, 28, of Tucson Ford, won the 100-yard butterfly in 44.94, third-fastest time in the country this year. Former Bolles swimmer Ryan Murphy, 18, a freshman at California, was 14th in 47.49.
In their second head-to-head matchup of the meet, Olympian Missy Franklin, 18, of California finished ahead of Olympian Katie Ledecky, 16, of Nation’s Capital in 1:41.40, just missing the American record. Ledecky finished in 1:42.03. Both times were meet records breaking the previous mark of 1:42.36 set by Olympian Dana Vollmer in 2009. “I knew it was going to be an awesome field and that Katie would bring it home like the champ she is,” Franklin said. Both were also national age group records (15-16 and 17-18).
Joao De Lucca, 23, of University of Louisville won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:31.65, edging South African Darian Townsend in 1:31.93. Both times were meet records betting the previoius record of 1:31.96 set last year by Ricky Berens, who recently retired.
Slovenian Damir Dugonjic, 25, swimming unattached for California Aquatics, won the 100-yard breaststroke in 51.93.
Missy Franklin won her second event of the night in the 100-yard backstroke in 51.59, finishing ahead of Cal teammate Elizabeth Pelton in 51.70.
Nick Thoman of SwimMAC Carolina won the men’s 100-yard backstroke in an American record of 44.07 for his third AR of the evening. Matt Grevers was second in 44.49, also breaking the American record he previously set in 2021 in 44.55. Former Bolles swimmer Ryan Murphy was third in 45.77.
California won the women’s 4×200-yard freestyle relay in a meet record 6:59.11 with Missy Franklin, Caroline Piehl, Camille Cheng and Elizabeth Pelton. The previous record was 7:05.69 set by Southern Cal in 2012. California’s “B” relay also broke the meet record in 7:04.49.
Michigan won the men’s 4×200-yard freestyle relay in 6:21.70 with Michael Wynalda, Connor Jaeger, Jack Mangan and Justin Glanda.
Other Florida Gold Coast results:
Men’s 400-yard individual medley: 13. Nick Schwab, Badger Swim Club 3:53.93.
Women’s 100-yard butterfly: 64. Courtney Marx, Western Kentucky 57.93.
Women’s 200-yard freestyle: 16. Megan Moroney, St. Andrew’s Swimming 1:48.45; 47. Jessica Randolph, Villanova 1:51.21, Lauren Driscoll, Tennessee, disqualified.
Women’s 100-yard breaststroke: 1. Alia Atkinson, SOFLO 57.62, 20. Emily Kopas, CSSC 1:02.24.
Men’s 100-yard breaststroke: 18. Alex Evdokimov, CSSC 54.02; 60. Quinn Cassidy, St. Andrew’s Swimming 59.02.
Women’s 100-yard backstroke: 28. Megan Moroney, St. Andrew’s Swimming 55.01.
Men’s 100-yard backstroke: 60. Quinn Cassidy, St. Andrew’s Swimming 51.89.
USA Swimming is hosting a live webcast of the prelims at 9 a.m. and finals at 5 p.m.
SOFLO’s Pinon Makes Two “C” Finals In France
Julien Pinon of South Florida Aquatic Club made his second “C” final of the French Short Course National Championships in Dijon, France.
Pinon, 15, a sophomore at Plantation American Heritage competing for Canet 66 Natation, was ninth in the men’s “C” final of the 50 freestyle in 24.21 after qualifying in 24.20 on Thursday and then on Friday, Pinon qualified for his second “C” final in the 100 freestyle prelims in 51.51 and finished tenth in 51.46.
Florent Manaudou set a world textile best in the men’s 100 freestyle in 45.04, breaking the previous mark of 45.52 by Russian Vlad Morozov set last winter at short course world championships in Istanbul.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com